Current UK NSC recommendations > Postnatal depression

The UK NSC recommendation on Postnatal depression screening in pregnancy (currently in consultation)


This recommendation is currently being reviewed as part of the UK NSC's regular review cycle of all policies.

The review process began in Jun 2018 and is estimated to be completed by Apr 2019.

» Download the expert review for Postnatal depression (PDF document, 2.33MB)

The UK NSC welcomes comments and feedback on the expert review during the consultation period that lasts from 12/11/2018 until 10/02/2019. Please send comments to Screening Evidence by e-mail using this feedback form.

Please note that all consultation submissions will be published on this page when the review is complete. Full details can be found in the confidentiality and disclosure section at the bottom of this page.

Recommendation Systematic population screening programme not recommended, clinical practice guidelines covered by NICE

A screening programme for postnatal depression is not recommended.

The development of postnatal depression is complex. There is a lack of clarity on the population to be identified by screening and evidence that the use of current screening tools cannot identify risk with sufficient accuracy.  There is also insufficient evidence that universal screening and subsequent intervention improve the health outcomes for the mother or the baby.

However, as part of a comprehensive clinical assessment, health professionals should be alert to the possibility of postnatal depression and manage it according to current guidance.


Find general information about population health screening.

More about Postnatal depression

As many as eight out of 10 women get what's known as the 'baby blues'. It normally begins within a few days of the birth, and common symptoms include bursting into tears for no reason, or feeling fantastic one minute and miserable the next. Fortunately, the symptoms only last for a short time.

If you become more unhappy or upset, or if your low mood lasts longer than a week, you might have postnatal depression.

Postnatal depression affects one in 10 new mums.

» Read more about postnatal depression on NHS Choices

» See also the UK NSC policy on depression


Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services
The British Psychological Society
Faculty of Public Health
• Insitute of Health Visiting
Royal College of General Practitioners
Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
Royal College of Physicians
Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow
Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
Royal College of Psychiatrists

The stakeholder groups will be involved when the recommendation is next reviewed. If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us. More information for stakeholders can be found in appendix C of the UK NSC evidence review process.

Related documents

icon Postnatal depression policy review summary (PDF document, 157KB, 15/12/11)

Confidentiality and disclosure

Information provided in response to this consultation, including personal information, may be subject to publication or release to other parties or to disclosure in accordance with the access to information regimes (these are primarily the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Data Protection Act 1998, and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004). If you want information, including personal data that you provide to be treated as confidential, please be aware that, under the FOIA, there is a statutory Code of Practice with which public authorities must comply and which deals, amongst other things, with obligations of confidence.

In view of this it would be helpful if you could explain to us why you regard the information you have provided as confidential. If we receive a request for disclosure of the information we will take full account of your explanation, but we cannot give an assurance that confidentiality can be maintained in all circumstances. An automatic confidentiality disclaimer generated by your IT system will not, of itself, be regarded as binding on the UK National Screening Committee.

Any request for information to be treated in confidence will be taken into consideration in the publication of responses to the consultation. The UK National Screening Committee intends to publish all responses following the closure of the consultation period, however we will not publish responses from respondents who request that any of the information in their response, including personal data, should be handled in confidence. The UK National Screening Committee reserves the right not to publish or take into account any representations which are openly offensive or defamatory.

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